Sunday, February 14, 2010

All good things must come to an end

Short and sweet: I am closing my blog.

After more than four years of blogging, I am throwing in the towel. Some of you may have noticed that my motivation for blogging has gradually lessened over time and I think now is an appropriate time for me to end it. This blog has been great for me as it has allowed me to put my thoughts into words but I've hit a point where it's really only turned into trip reports anyway. I may write somewhere else in the future but as of now I have no plans whatsoever. Sorry for anyone who was living vicariously through me, you'll have to get your poker fix elsewhere :)

There are only so many things that can be said before poker blogging just becomes incredibly dry and boring. I mean in all seriousness, who really wants to see more hand histories of AK vs QQ all-in preflop? Downswings, upswings blablabla...unless it's really degenerate, no one really cares anyway. Strategy posts have become pretty much nonexistent in today's world where you have to pay to get good strategy advice. Nobody hands out their secrets for free anymore and I'm not about to divulge my reads vs other regulars for everyone to see.

I am quite proud of my blog. I have kept it active for more than four years when nearly every other poker blog has either died or become a ghost town. I'm also proud of the fact that I remained independent and did not go to one of the mass-blog poker communities. A lot of poker bloggers blog to get their name exposed in hopes of scoring a sponsorship deal. The sponsorship boat has definitely sailed, right now the only way you can hope for a deal is if you win several big tournaments or if you happen to be an attractive female that knows the difference between a flush and a full house. What used to be fairly easy to come by (any good final table in EPT season 1) now is pretty much hopeless.

Just to make it clear, I'm not quitting poker. I really like the balance I have between online and live poker and that's something I want to maintain in the future. I have plans for EPT Berlin, EPT San Remo, EPT Monte Carlo and then the WSOP this summer.

Finally, I'd like to thank all the readers who have kept coming back over the years. It was nice to know that some people (even the haters) were interested enough to check for updates. I realize most people just came for the pictures and hopefully I was able to deliver! I appreciate all the comments you have made, they really added to my motivation to keep it going so long. Thanks again!

So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, good bye!

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

End of trip wrapup

A lot has happened since my last entry. Let's start with the Main Event. Day 2 started well for me, I had my 70k up to 250k pretty quickly after an early set-up with KK vs AKs. I was playing with Gus Hansen, John Juanda and James Akenhead. As a result, it wasn't very surprising when they made us the first tv table. It was fun to play for the cameras again, though it was a pretty short experience (2 hours). When we got moved back down away from the cameras, I started bleeding chips pretty badly and lost about 100k in the next level.

Gus Hansen was annoying the crap out of me, as was this bwin qualifier. I just couldn't seem to win a pot without getting played back at and when the cards are not coming your way, losing chips is pretty inevitable. I was eventually left with 90k after more plays were not working, then blinded down to 60k (20bb) before restealing Gus Hansen's cutoff open with 52hh. He made the call with ATo despite my tight image (maybe I am a live read fish?) but I hit gin on a 56hJh flop, 6x,Qx to double up to 120k. Then I was moved to a new table for the last few minutes of play and managed to double up again, this time with KK vs 66 in a button vs SB situation. A few 3bets later I ended the day with 270k in chips!

Day 3 started of very well for me as I was able to completely run my table over at the bubble. Some guy stacked off to me with JT vs my AJ on a Jhi board and I was smooth sailing with 550k chips as we entered the money. From there things went downhill but the players were busting pretty quickly so before I knew it, we were down to just 36 players and the format switched to 6 handed.

Obviously shorthanded is much more up my alley but I was pretty shortstacked with 25bb so my options were limited. Right off the bat I got it in with A9s vs QQ SB vs BB and lost, leaving myself with just 10bb. I got those in with 77 vs TT and spiked a 7 for tournament life, lucky me! With around 28 players left I got it all in with QQ vs 99 for a 750k pot but the board ran out AATTT, unlucky me! Soon after I got it in yet again, this time with Ah2x vs AQo on a QhTh2h flop. 43% equity was not enough for me to win the 900k+ pot and I was eliminated in 25th place for $40k AUSD. Still, it was a really fun sweat and felt great to run semi deep in something again, but it just wasn't meant to be.

welcome to the good life

The $2k shorthanded a couple days later also wasn't meant to be, seeing that I lost my stack on a AA7 flop with A8 vs QQ, we got it all in but he hit me with a backdoor fläsh. At least it happened somewhat early in the tourney so I didn't have to waste too much time.

Let's see, what else? Oh yeah Phil celebrated his birthday a few nights ago at a nightclub called Seven. Despite a warning from the cute girl at the spa reception who said it was ASIA NIGHT, he went ahead with his plans and got two tables at the club. When we got there, I kid you not, there was not a single non-Asian in line. Inside the building, I spotted a total of two white guys (must be Asian lovers, hi Larry!) in the whole club. As you can imagine, it was an incredibly awkward experience to stick out and be stared at like that. Needless to say, we drank for about an hour or so and then hit the road. Oops!

have a close look, I wasn't exaggerating!

On Sunday we decided to do a helicopter tour of the Great Ocean Road, which turned out to be a really awesome experience. It was a little pricey (though I didn't have to pay, ty credit card roulette) but it's something I would definitely recommend to anyone who wants to get the best view of the coastline and the 12 Apostles. Driving the Great Ocean Road is one thing, but you don't get to see nearly as much as you do from the helicopter's perspective, plus you don't waste so much time driving. We took a ton of pictures I even recorded a short video, check it out.



From there we flew back just in time for the Australian Open mens final. This time I actually did have to pay (we didn't cc roulette it) but it was totally worth it. To be honest I would have liked to see one or two more sets but Federer just wouldn't allow it. He was really at the top of his game and it seemed like Murray struggled to find his rhythm, which was kind of unfortunate especially since I bet on him. Still, the beer was great, the match was great and the experience was great!

the helicrew. ramin me igor tom fabi tini

Today is my final day in Melbourne and I'm all alone because the others are doing a two week trip through Australia. I would have loved to join but I really wanted to get back home to Berlin for a couple weeks before I need to hit the road again to Kansas on Feb 22nd. Melbourne this year has been probably the most memorable trip yet and I am 99.99% sure that I will be returning next year. That's it from me, now it's time to close my eyes and pray that my runbad on airline travel doesn't carry over to my flights home!

this was at the final, the clouds were really sweet

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Happy Australia Day!

Good day mate! I really like the way Australians are. The way they talk, their positive (yet not fake) attitude, just the general atmosphere in Melbourne is something that keeps me coming back year after year.

our chef at Koko, a very nice Japanese restaurant at the Crown

I went 0 for 2 in the nightly $1k satellites to the Main Event, which isn't a surprise considering the ridiculous structure. The funniest thing about them though are the things that the other players say at the table. They try to use words they've read in a book or magazine like fold equity or bluff catcher but put them so out of context it's hilarious. I should have brought my headphones because I'm pretty sure I lost brain cells while listening to some of it.

The Main Event began terribly for me, I started losing chips right off the bat and after level 3 I was left with just 5k chips and blinds of 100/200/25. I was able to double up with AKs vs QTs and then chipped up to 20k. When I had around 24k I got it all in with AA vs AK on a 885K board, which catapulted my stack up to 50k. I was playing pretty loose but did not get played back at much so that allowed me to build up to 70k without much variance. That's where we ended the day, so I'm pretty optimistic going into Day 2 tomorrow.

Ramin, Sonja & Seb at the Wawrinka-Cilic match

Away from poker, we've been keeping very busy with the Australian Open. So far I've been there three times (Haas-Greul, Wawrinka-Cilic, Haas-Tsonga) and have had a blast. Obviously we've been hitting up some nice restaurants in the Crown. Nobu was a pleasant experience as always, Koko (photo above) was great and just last night we ate at Rockpool, which was my favorite meal yet. We've also been pretty active ourselves, playing tennis once and beach volleyball twice thusfar. Today we're off to St. Kilda beach to enjoy the beautiful weather and celebrate Australia Day. I'll post another update when I find some more time!

Schlaaannnndddd! Philbort, just a few days before his $250k cash at UB

Nasr was cold so he bought an authentic jacket from a ballboy for $100

our seats weren't the best but it was still a great match

Saturday, January 16, 2010

PCA recap

My first PCA trip did not quite live up to my expectations, pretty much only as a result of the poor weather. Of the 10 days I was there we only had one sunny day, one decent day and eight meh days. When so much of the Atlantis experience is based on outdoor/pool activities, it really takes a lot of options away as far as what you can do other than grind it out in the casino. I try plan these trips as more of a vacation with poker on the side rather than vice versa whenever possible. If I had to pick a highlight of the trip it would certainly be the food. Nobu & Mesa Grill were both phenomenal as always, the rest of the food at Atlantis was pretty good and the couple times we left the resort to eat locally (seafood & Greek) it ended up being very tasty.

Some people have asked if we felt any part of the Haiti earthquake but the answer is no. There was a tsunami watch for the Bahamas that night but nothing ever materialized afaik. The whole earthquake is so tragic, it could not have hit a more unfortunate country. I flew to Miami with an American who survived it (the building he was in did not immediately collapse) and hearing his stories about all the bodies on the side of the road was pretty shocking to say the least.

Moving on, our trip to Australia started off on the wrong foot in Nassau because our plane was delayed, meaning we missed our connecting flight in Miami and when we got to LA, everybody got their boarding passes for the direct flight to Melbourne except me, wtf??? I got rerouted through Sydney, so my journey from gate-to-gate ended up being 31 hours. It feels sooooo good being in Melbourne and finally being able to strech my legs and relax. I need a private jet so I can avoid all these travel fiascos.

The Main Event doesn't start until January 26th so now we have some time to catch up on some sun, tennis and anything else Melbourne has to offer! The internet sucked in the Bahamas so I couldn't upload pics, but here you go!

group dinner @ Nobu. a few people are hidden and not everyone was prepared for the pic

my fried shrimp & snapper at a local seafood restaurant in Nassau

we need to get this patio furniture for vegas. comfort deluxe


blending in with the locals

giant strawberry margharitas from senor frogs

yup. he even travels in his puma jacket

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Bahamas

My trip to the Bahamas did not go very smooth at all. First, my plane in Kansas City was delayed two hours due to a failure with some generator (?) and consequently I missed my connecting flight in Dallas. Because there were no more flights from Dallas to Nassau, I was rerouted through Miami. However, all the flights from Miami were booked out until the next morning, so I had to spend the night in Miami. This was quite tilting as you can imagine!

The next morning I flew to Nassau and it turns out that I grabbed the wrong suitcase from the conveyor belt! Some guy had the exact same suitcase as I did. Same manufacturer, same color, same size, no name tag. It's obv my fault, but what are the odds that someone has the same suitcase on a flight with just around 70 people on it? I brought it to the hotel, opened it up (my key worked to unlock his suitcase!) and the first thing I saw were pink sandals, at which point I was just thinking wtf??? So I had to go back to the airport, return his suitcase and pick up mine. They just have the suitcases lying around to be taken and do no security checks, so if anyone needs some new clothes, hit up Nassau airport.

Today I played the Main Event and to make a long story short, I busted at the end of Level 4. I had to fold a set on the river in level 3 which took a big chunk of my stack, then I had around 50bbs and got in a 3bet pot with AA from the SB vs the CO, who was Shane "Shaniac" Schleger. He had the good old J3s and on a board of K93J, it was pretty easy for him to call my turn shove. River blanked and I am out, it happens. I'm not upset about it at all, I'm actually even in a pretty good mood. Maybe it's because today is the first day of decent weather since we've been here.

I'm not sure which, or even if I'll play the side events that are running every day. If the weather stays nice tomorrow then I'm pretty sure I'll just soak up some sun and slurp on some Bahama Mamas. Pictures to come!

Friday, January 01, 2010

A Whole New Year

2010 has arrived! I can't believe that the millennium is now 10 years in the past! It's something I'll never forget because my mom forbade me to go to the Brandenburg Gate with all my friends and I still tease her about it to this day. She thought it was too dangerous, but for 14-year old me I could think of nothing more fun! My new years this year was actually quite weak. I stayed home and chilled indoors, alone, and even played some poker! It's ironic because I preach about getting out and being social and then I turn around and do something like that, oh well. It was very relaxing, I had time to sit back and think about things and I enjoyed it very much!

I recently had my first ever visit to see a chiropractor and I gotta say, totally worth it! People do not take enough care of their backs and though I get fairly regular massages, I've never had someone do an actual spinal adjustment to me. There was really no pain involved and afterward I felt great, which was the whole point. It's a goal of mine to take better care of my posture so that I don't have back problems when I get older but I constantly find myself slouched over my computer chair anyway, that's just the way it works.

PCA Bahamas is fast approaching, I already leave for it on Sunday. A ton of Germans are going to be there this year, so I'm sure there will be plenty of credit card roulette bills where I'll need a little rungood. There are so many that I'll just decide spontaneously which tourneys to play in other than the Main Event of course. Also, I'm hoping that we can rent some kind of boat and take it out to sea one of those days. I'll be sure to take plenty of pictures!

On a final note, I'm so stoked that Pokerstars announced EPT Berlin! Though I'm not necessarily convinced that the organization will be stellar (based on Spielbank Berlin's history, certainly not Pokerstars) I'm sure that the event will be a lot of fun and what better place to play than on my home turf!?! I'll have to fly back from my sister's wedding a couple days earlier than planned which kinda sucks but I couldn't miss out :)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

2009: My Year in Review

In what is starting to become somewhat of a tradition, I have a couple sentences to write about each month this past year and a little bit about looking forward to the future. Enjoy!

January 09: I began the year in the Philippines with my sister on a trip that I will never forget. From there we went on to Australia, starting in Sydney but then taking a 5 day driving tour down the eastern coast to Melbourne. I managed to make the final table in a side event of the Aussie Millions for $25k. Get in plenty of Australian Open action. Australia is simply the nuts.

February 09: I got a last minute invitation to play in the first German Highrollers cash game for DSF. I didn't run very well and dropped a couple stacks but the experience was awesome! Saalbach is a great location, it's no wonder it was chosen to host an EPT this year.

March 09: Both EPT Dortmund and the Vienna Spring Festival end up without cashes, though I am totally content with my play. Thank God for sebbau sucking at squash otherwise I would have lost a lot more money this month :)

April 09: Online grinding for most of the month, then San Remo at the end of the month, yet another non-cash at an EPT.

May 09: Continue the trip through Italy to Milan for a few days followed by Monte Carlo for the EPT. Have an amazing time (trip report here) and even manage to cash in Monte Carlo. Wheeeee!!! At the end of the month I arrive in Vegas for the WSOP!

June 09: Vegas Vegas Vegas! In what is undoubtedly the best Vegas trip yet, I make a small cash in the $2500 shorthanded event, immediately followed with a cash in the $5k shootout, where Nasr goes on the make the final table only to get rigged out in 5th place. A couple picture galleries here and here.

July 09: My WSOP Main Event unfortunately ends on Day 3, but Nasr, Chris and Marco all go on to make deep runs. I had my first skydiving experience! After Vegas, I go to California for a short trip to get away from poker. What a summer.

August 09: Made a quick trip to Munich to visit my sister and her fiancee and spent the rest of the month just lounging, catching up on tv shows and playing a little bit of online poker. Made a $10k tennis bet with Seb for a match to be played next September, gl me!

September 09: Started the month in Barcelona for the EPT. Had a good time but did not have success in the tourney, that's just the way it goes. Later in the month I went to Hamburg to see the touring Cirque du Soleil show, good times!

October 09: For a change I spent my birthday in Berlin for the first time in years. Our Halloween party turns out to be a blast! From this point on the year gets pretty boring as I decided not to take any more trips until the end of December for Xmas. It feels great to stay home for more than a few weeks at a time, though.

November 09: I get sick twice (!) in one month, good thing I was home for it. Plenty of time for online poker. After all, it is my job!

December 09: Same old same old. Get in as many hands as possible without overdoing it. In my daily routine until just a few days ago when I flew to Kansas for Christmas. I'll spend the rest of the year here before leaving for the Bahamas on January 3rd!

All in all it's been yet another fantastic year, both in poker and other aspects of life. It amazes me how fast these years are flying by, it's almost scary. I often wonder if these will be the years I look back on and just say "Man those were the times!" I want to enjoy them as much as possible and think that I'm doing a pretty good job of it so far. I have never been happier in life and can honestly say I'm living my dream!

As far as goals for the upcoming year are concerned, I would still like to see a significant 6 figure cash at a live tournament. This was something I actually had planned for 2009 but it just wasn't meant to be. Considering I play less than 10 live tourneys a year the odds are obviously against me but I'll do my best!

Thanks to all my loyal readers, I wish you guys a prosperous 2010!